Review and update on the status of our contract negotiations

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

You received an e-mail from us on May 1, 2014 with the timeline and update on the status of our contract negotiations. The following is a truncated version:

August 31, 2013 – 4580 Collective Agreement expires; no bargaining dates or proposals from the administration.

October 2013 – Membership voices collective agreement issues and lists “guaranteed GA assignment” and “additional GA terms for graduate students” among the important issues to fight for.

February 2014 – Talks begin between Local 4580 and the administration; a tentative Collective Agreement is reached. Ratification of proposed Collective Agreement voted down by membership.

March 27, 2014 – Strike mandate vote held and passed by membership.

March 31, 2014 – Talks resume with the administration.

April 3, 2014 – Talks stall; Local 4580 files for conciliation.

May 8, 2014 (upcoming) – Scheduled date for conciliation where a third party will be appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, to help in resolving the differences between the negotiating parties to reach a new collective agreement.

Please be aware that your negotiating team is and will be doing everything in their power to reach a fair agreement for the members without having to take critical steps such as a strike. However, just like our comrades at WUFA (Windsor University Faculty Association) we must be prepared to take strike action (as supported by our strike mandate vote held in March 2014).

In the event of a strike, strike pay begins on the tenth day of the strike. It is $200/week, approximately the amount you are currently paid for your work as a GA or TA. You would be locked out of the university in your capacity as a GA/TA, but you may cross the line to continue your regular duties as a student, researcher, etc.

Every member will be notified before we begin any strike action. That is, we are not currently on strike and you should continue to perform your regular job duties according to the current Collective Agreement.

There are two important things you should know:
1.     The administration has been using a “we have no money” tactic as they have with other unions on campus. They have money. They have a surplus. The most recent issue of the faculty newsletter The Badger (click here) outlines that in the last five years, the University’s total assets have risen dramatically and revenues have increased steadily. So, why did the university spend less on salaries in 2013 than 2011? And why are they trying to cut GA terms?
2.      We stand united. Other unions on campus know what has been going on with Local 4580 and have assured us that we have their full support:
a.       WUFA
b.      CUPE 1393
c.      CUPE 1001
d.      Unifor 2458
e.      Unifor 2458 Engineers
f.       Unifor 195

Thank you to all 4580 members and all the unions on campus for their continued support in this endeavour. The fight is not over, but having you stand beside us gives us the strength to keep going.

In Solidarity,

CUPE Local 4580 Executive Team 2014-2015

President: Mia Sisic
Vice-President: Mohammed Almanaseer
Treasurer: Ashlyne O’Neil
Secretary: Jihong Kim
Membership Officer: Brent Taylor